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YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Robert W

Does Jasnah still consider herself to be atheist and what would she have to see in order to change her view?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah would stop being atheist if she got definitive proof of an omniscient and caring and omnipotent God. She does not, and I kind of agree with her, consider the Shards to be Gods (capital G). In her realm these are beings that, you know, everything is Invested, they're Invested more. Atheist means she does not believe that there is, in these terms, an omnipotent God. It doesn't necessarily have to mean loving, I might have said that. She means that there is no omnipotent, capital G God. She doesn't think one exists. She would need to have irrefutable proof that they do or that they did and then she would believe. It doesn't mean she would worship, but it does mean she would believe.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner

Phenax, which Shard do you think he is most like?

Brandon Sanderson

God of Deception. I don't know. I'd have to think about that. I'm not 100% sure. It might be one I haven't revealed yet which...

Questioner

Obviously that's the whole RAFO deal.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Phenax is an interesting character in the lore. I like all of their gods of the underworld that they do.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Crspu

Is there going to be a magic system for every Shard? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes, whether there'll be books? We get into a problem here... is... what is a magic system, right? 

So for instance like, would you count all of Surgebinding as one magic system, or is it ten magic systems, right? Is Windrunning a separate magic system from Skybreaking. Right, and is it the Surges? Is it that? What do you call a magic system? Is the system of fabrials a magic system, or is it a subset of what's happening on Roshar? And in that case, it's like I delineated it pretty strongly in Mistborn, but in Stormlight, it's like... kind of Surgebinding is kind of Honor and Cultivation, right? And so is there a magic system for each of them or not?

So the answer is yes and no, in that every one of the Shards will inspire really interesting magic systems. But is there a one to one? What do you call a magic system? And beyond that, will I have time to write books about all of these, I don't know. You could even look at Sel. Sel has how many magic systems, is it one? Is it lots? Is Forging a different magic system from AonDor, or is it two aspects of the same magic system and so... It's tricky. 

Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing ()
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Dawnshard

So I asked Brandon at the LA signing if he could tell us about a shard that we don't know anything about (including the survival shard) and he said that there was a shard that isn't on a planet. Now I think this means that the shard is either on an asteroid, or a star. It could also be floating in space or on a moon and influencing from a distance. I will repeat it is not any shard we already know about.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Alex M

What's the difference between avatar and Splinter?

Brandon Sanderson

These are all very weird terms that I'm just using.

*mistakenly answering for Sliver* A Sliver is a person who has held the power of a Shard, and then let go of it. A briefly held time, holding the infinite power of a Shard, but no longer does. So what does that do? That changes your soul, and leaves markers on it. It's a real physiological thing.

An avatar is... a Shard manifesting a semi-autonomous piece of themselves that is still connected to who they are. An avatar, for instance, of Autonomy - depending on how Autonomy creates that avatar - might know, might not know, but they are still an aspect, they are still part of Autonomy. And when you get down to it a part of them knows that, and it's almost a god roleplaying, but in a way that only a Shard, or a lowercase-g god in the Cosmere, can do.

Brandon Sanderson

*realizes that he answered for Sliver earlier, and clarifies*

A Splinter is a piece of a Shard that is fully autonomous, where an avatar is not. So something that is Splintered does not consider itself - and would not be considered by the definitions  - an actual piece of it [the Shard], and has free will. So once it has free will, and/or could develop free will (because some of the Splinters haven't gotten there yet), but is fully cut off from the direct control and self-identity of the Shard, then it is called a Splinter.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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m4ge

If a Splintered Shard is somehow reformed, is it possible to change the word that expresses its Intent?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but that's a very implausible thing depending on how... so, you're getting into some weird Cosmere stuff here. Most of the ways that these different Shards could manifest could be described differently. Odium is trying very hard to describe his Shard as something different, and there's an argument there. But it depends on if you're like actually changing it or if you just want to call it something different. You could just call Odium hatred and it's not going to change anything, but if you wanted to change Odium to mean Passion like Odium thinks that it means, then that's more difficult.

Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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T.T

Barring the Almighty, did we seen a Shardholder (like Sazed) in this book?"

Brandon Sanderson

I think "Shardholder" would get confusing alongside "Shardbearer." Basically, in the Cosmere's terms, when someone holds a Shard of Adonalsium, I call that person a Shard of Adonalsium. They are imbued with the power of that Shard, but they also become the Shard. Fans can use whatever terminology they wish, but this is how I term it.You did at least see the direct effects of two of the Shards of Adonalsium, but I won't say whether or not you actually saw a Shard of Adonalsium.